Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Al Gore turned me into a climate change sceptic.

One of the odd occurrences in my life is that watching An Inconvenient Truth was the point at which I started being sceptical about man made global warming. Up until I saw it I had just gone with the flow and accepted that man's activities were making the climate warmer.

There were two things in the film that made me stop and think "that doesn't look right" and, by doing a very little research, made me want to swim against the flow.

The first was the "hockey stick graph" which showed thousands of years of steady temperatures followed by an accelerating upturn in the last few years. Now I wasn't any good at history at school but I even I know that there was a Roman warm period, and medieval warm period which was followed by the "little ice age" which means there can't be a straight handle for the hockey stick.

The other point was the "graph" Al Gore produced showing the historic movement of temperature and CO2 in the atmosphere. If I had presented a graph like that at school with no scales it would have been given back to me unmarked. It also brought to mind my sixth form stats teacher who pointed out that we could measure the height of the school entrance step and the height of the bushes planted beside the door and prove conclusively that as we trod on the step we were pushing it down and the bushes up - a correlation does not prove cause and effect. In the case of atmospheric CO2 recent research shows that historically the CO2 change happened after the temperature change - not surprising as a dissolved gas (carbon dioxide in this case) always becomes less soluble with increasing temperature. Again something I learnt at school.

My big problem is that most climate change sceptics use this as an excuse to do nothing about our over use of the worlds resources whereas I believe that, as Christians, we should be cutting our use of all the worlds resources to sustainable levels and ensuring an ethical division of resources around the world. Here in the UK our oil and gas consumption per person is about 2.5 times the global average which is socially unacceptable even if the world’s current rates of consumption are sustainable.

God gave us a beautiful planet to look after and enjoy not exploit.

No comments: